CEO: Jay Kellerman (Managing Partner)
Headquarters: Toronto, Canada

Maternity Leave Coaching Program

Leading business law firm Stikeman Elliott LLP understands that each woman lawyer has different needs as she progresses through her legal career. Having a child and going on maternity leave can be particularly challenging, as women juggle maintaining their law practice with new responsibilities at home. To support its women lawyers with this transition, the firm offers a robust maternity leave coaching program.

The program includes a parental toolkit and external coaching for lawyers who are about to start or are returning from maternity leave. Recognizing that not all new parents share the same goals, the program is individualized to meet a lawyer’s particular needs. For example, one lawyer may wish to be more actively involved in firm activities during their leave, while another may prefer to re-integrate into the firm closer to their planned return date.

The pre-maternity leave sessions are intended to assist the lawyer in effectively winding down her practice and, if interested, developing a plan to stay informed about client developments during her leave. The return to work coaching sessions are intended to help the returning lawyer re-integrate into her practice; manage stress and competing priorities; plan business development activities; and identify overall career goals. In addition to individualized coaching sessions, re-integration meetings are held with mentors, practice group leaders and members of the firm’s Career Development Team.

Stikeman Elliott has a comprehensive resource manual available for all lawyers who are considering starting a family, which includes a detailed breakdown of parental support resources and sets out general information on a wide range of topics such as flexible work arrangements and childcare options. As part of its ongoing effort to ensure a smooth transition for women leaving for and returning from maternity leave, the firm also engages in increased dialogue and support for women lawyers who have recently returned from maternity leave and offers a rigorous unconscious bias training program for all firm members.